As the world’s largest social network, it’s likely that Facebook plays some role in your social media marketing efforts. Whether you’re a frequent poster to your business page and part of the new wave of businesses driving paid social media spending to record levels, or simply want to ramp up your efforts ahead of the Christmas shopping season, Facebook has a series of new tools just launched to help you make the very most of all sales opportunities on its platform.

The new tools are aimed at small businesses and have been developed as part of Facebook’s push to support SMEs around the world.  It says it will also welcome hundreds of small businesses to its offices in locations such as London, New York, Mexico City, Berlin and Dublin for a holiday boot camp intended to help SME leaders prep for holiday season.

Michelle Klein, VP of Global Business Marketing at Facebook says over 140 million businesses use the Facebook app each month, suggesting its new tools will be in high demand. The inspiration for the new additions comes from a Facebook-commissioned study, carried out by Ipsos, which revealed that by November, nearly half of all US consumers will already have started their holiday shopping.

Customizable templates

One of the first new tools that Facebook has rolled out to help small businesses get holiday-season ready is a series of customizable ad templates. The templates are pre-made creative assets which the small business owner can then edit to reflect their own branding and offers. The templates are suitable for use across Stories, Instgram, Messenger and Facebook. The ad templates take the form of full screen, vertical ads, helping SMEs to push professional ads out to the Facebook audience even without a video or design team in house.

Instagram Direct Message Tools

If shoppers tend to reach out to you on social media, the second new feature should make it easier for you to stay on top of your social media customer service. Rolling out within Instagram Direct, multiple new features and functionalities such as folder creation, message labels and search should streamline communications and help SMEs keep track of requests, questions and queries on social media. Facebook says it wants to, “…help businesses manage customer communications more seamlessly and efficiently across our apps.”  

An auto-response to messages will now also be possible and can be used to acknowledge messages right away and inform shoppers when they can expect to see a personalised reply. This feature could also be used to direct shoppers to other resources and contact info out of hours, such as a FAQ page on the SME website or 24-hour customer care telephone number.

In addition to the seasonal help in the form of these tools, Facebook will also hold over 200 training events for small businesses during the run-up to the holiday shopping season.